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They lived in a large farming State which grew corn and wheat. It was all sun and blue skies, with very long roads that went from field to field and to the small town.

Norma showed up at Jackson’s house on Friday while he was washing his red vintage pickup truck with his shirt off.

“Hey, stranger,” she said. “Washing the old thing?”

“Well, look what the cat dragged in,” said Jackson. He pressed the pistol grip nozzle on the hose and sprayed away the soap from the hood.

“Guess what?” she said.

“You know I suck at your guessing games. Just spit it out.”

“Fine. Remember the time I went on that student exchange program?”

“What about it?” He soaked up a thick yellow sponge and started to scrub the front fender.

“Well,” said Norma, “the girl I stayed with, she’s come to visit me!”

“In this forsaken place?”

“Don’t call it that. My friend’s crazy about it. I sent her some pictures, and she told me she fell in love as soon as she saw them. Some of those pictures had you and me in them, from the time we used to be—”

“I know the pictures you’re talking about.”

“Well, now I want to show my friend a real good time.”

“All we do around here is grow corn, grow wheat, get drunk on Fridays. Tell your friend to skip this place. Go visit the city or something.”

“Can’t. She’s at my home already. And I desperately want her to have fun.”

“Then have fun. I don’t understand why you came all the way here to tell me this.”

“Because,” began Norma, “I was hoping…just maybe…you could drive us around.”

“Like your chauffeur? Are you friggin’ kidding me?”

“Not like a chauffeur. Like a bud. You’re the one who knows all the secret and magical places around here. You know…the places you used to take me to when we….”

“Don’t remind me.”

“Come on, Jackson. It’ll just be us three, chilling for a few days. Like good friends. Before she flies off to her country. After that, I don’t think I’ll see her again for a very long time.”

“Not sure it’s a good idea, Norma.”

“It’ll be fun. Can’t you just put your feelings behind you? Having my friend visit me means so much to me. Please, I’m begging you, Jackson. For old times’ sake?”

He finished washing the truck, put his shirt back on, and walked towards the house. “Sorry there,” he said. “Can’t.”

Jan. 22, 2023, 1:11 a.m. 0 Report Embed Follow story
Read next chapter 2.

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